"RREC has relevant potential for providing support to the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia within the framework of Environment for Europe Process and implementing the functions of the Secretariat according to set framework"

V. Stepankov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of Russia in 2004-2006

Taseevskoe Project

Over the recent years operations of business-companies have become more socially oriented. This means that companies feel their responsibility in relation to the local communities in the process of their operations that might potentially cause damage to public health and natural environment.

Due to this reason one of the top priorities for any business is ethical attitude to nature objects and consideration of the interests of residents of the affected territories.

In 2006, the RREC was commissioned by the engineering consulting company «Golder Associates» (Canada) to perform assessment of social implications of the project for gold production expansion (JSC «Taseyevskoye») and elaboration of a plan for resettlement of the residents living in the town of Baley (Chita Oblast).

One of the main requirements to the project that corresponds to the RREC Mission to be fulfilled by the RREC was promotion and implementation in Russia of advanced management guidelines and rules for public participation in the decision making process.

It was important to ensure a high level of compliance with the Russian and international rules and procedures with respect to active involvement of local residents of Baley District in public hearings relating to the project and their representative participation in the discussions.

Another objective was to ensure effective risk management and minimize conflict situations at the very early stages of the mine expansion project.

The following means were applied to attain the above objectives:

  • skillful organisation and holding of the public hearings;
  • consultations for the local communities;
  • interaction with the local authorities and mass media.

The general purpose of the EIA is to assess the environmental impact of the planned industrial operations and to develop measures to minimize and prevent harmful effects.

The investigations began with a detailed study of the baseline situation within the zone of the project: determination of the air and water quality, flora and fauna status, social and economic situation.

In relation to this particular project the EIA, including public discussions of the process and findings of the work, are conducted in conformity with both the applicable standards of the Russian Federation and the standards of international organizations.

The objective of the RREC was to provide assistance relating to environmental and legal aspects of the process of resettlement of residents and public discussions of the EIA results.

In order to involve the citizens and organizations, potentially exposed to the effects of the project, or just an interested party, a Plan has been developed for public discussions and disclosure of the EIA results.

Establishment of a database of stakeholders is required to ensure more accurate and prompt informing of the participants, as well as planning of public hearings and other events to be conducted within the framework of the public discussions.

The RREC carried out extensive work to establish contacts with, non-commercial (non-governmental) organizations,governmental bodies and business community of Chita Oblast.

To improve the efficiency of public discussions and disclosure of information to the interested parties, five public reception rooms, 16 information centres were set up, even in the remote villages.

On November 24, 2007 public hearings were conducted in the town of Baley to discuss the Terms of Reference for the EIA. The hearings were attended by 101 persons:
The main issues discussed during the hearings were described in the Protocol signed by the representatives of the Company, local authorities and the public.

The Russian Regional Environmental Centre intends to facilitate the dialogue between the business companies and the communities and more active public participation in discussions of environmental and social aspects of investment projects.

Such participation will promote implementation of similar projects on the basis of sustainable development principles with consideration of the interests of local communities, development of territories and nature conservation.